REX HOBCROFTTo observe and discuss at first hand, University and Conservatorium courses, school music education and teacher training programmes and contemporary music developments - USA, Japan, Germany, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, Thailand, China,
Rex Hobcroft was born in 1925 and educated in Renmark, South Australia. After serving as a pilot with the RAAF and Ansett Airways, he studied at the Melbourne University Conservatorium, graduating with First Class Honours in Piano in 1948. Postgraduate studies took him to Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique, after which he settled in Western Australia and was active as a school music specialist and examiner.
In 1957, Rex Hobcroft was appointed to one of only four full time academic positions at the newly established Queensland Conservatorium, where he was the Foundation Head of Keyboard studies for four years. As a performer, he was in demand as a recitalist and concerto soloist, vocal accompanist and chamber musician in Brisbane and throughout regional Queensland and on ABC radio.
In 1961, Rex Hobcroft moved to Hobart to take up the position of Foundation Head of the Music Department at the University of Tasmania. In 1963, he was appointed Foundation Director of the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music. His vision was for Hobart to become the ‘Salzburg of Australia’ and he worked tirelessly to motivate support for this vision in the wider community. In particular, he organised the First Australian Composers’ Seminar in Hobart in 1963. This event, which showcased the work of contemporary Australian composers, is recognised as a watershed in the history of Australian composition.
In 1972 he moved to Sydney where he served as Director of the State Conservatorium of New South Wales until 1982. Under his leadership, the Conservatorium took on the modern educational profile that can be recognised today, with the focus on tertiary students in degree programs and a flourishing visiting artists program. As Director he oversaw numerous curriculum innovations such as the introduction of tertiary programs in jazz, church music, electronic music, as well as the establishment of regional music centres which continue to thrive today. In 1976 he co-founded the Sydney International Piano Competition and served as Artistic Director until 1990.
Upon retirement in 1982, Rex Hobcroft returned to Western Australia where he continued to make significant contributions to music education. As Chair of the Western Australian Government’s Conservatorium Committee, he was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the State’s conservatorium in 1985.
Rex was keen to observe and discuss at first hand, University and Conservatorium courses, school music education and teacher training programmes and contemporary music developments. He travelled to USA, Japan, Germany, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, Thailand, China.
FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES
Rex Hobcroft has been awarded numerous fellowships and other awards, including his Churchill Fellowship (1967), Japan Foundation Fellowship (1975), the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal for service to the community (1977), and the Order of Australia for services to music (1990). His career has also included concert performances as a soloist and with orchestra, conducting, chamber music and composing. He has been a jury member of numerous international piano competitions in North America and Europe, and a member of many music and related arts committees. From 1992 to 1998, he was Patron of the Australian International Conservatorium.
Rex remained an interested member of the Tasmanian Churchill Fellows’ Association and was keen to catch up with the Secretary on a visit to Perth in 2012.
Rex died on 23/9/13